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The Anti-Asian Racism

The anti-Asian racism and cultural segregation enforced by the Canadian Labour Leaders in the late 19th to the early 20th century motivated foreigners mainly (Asian immigrants) to push social barriers against the settler working class. Looking at the factors that highlighted these issues. This article will take the stance that the Asian minorities were set apart from other minorities by ways of mistreatment and other discriminating environmental issues. Among many of the issues, the labour leaders considered Asian immigration and the most vital issue that the Canadian workers faced, both economically and socially (Goutor, 2007). This article adds valuable emphasis on under-explored challenges the Asians faced when unionists often empathized other marginalized groups such as blacks and aboriginals but belittled the Asian minority (Goutor, 2007, p. 562). The article is divided into three main sections which aims to address the different issues and explain the reasoning for the economic and social concerns, labour, well as the exclusion of Asian immigrants (p. 554, 560, 566).

One of the challenges of finding explanations on the histories of Asian immigration has been linking other truths to explaining why the Unionists and labor leaders placed such a harsh attitude towards Asians. Goutor asserts that Caucasian labour simply had no likelihood of competing against the Asians due to their standards (2007, p. 569).

According to Goutor, he argues that the primary focus of why the anti-Asian crisis was such a huge threat was that white labour was unable to compete with oriental wages. While he reasons that Asian workers often accepted lower wages and worsened the working conditions, he challenges that economic concern was not the only reason for Unionists to show prejudice towards the Asian community. He further states that labour leaders went through great measures in order to construct the image of Asians as being inferior compared to those of the white folk. Living in disgraceful environments and described to be “trained to live on garbage” (Goutor, 2007, p. 555). Moreover, Goutor mentions that labour leaders contributed to the illustration of Chinatown as rampant in gambling, prostitution, and other illicit activities (2007, p. 556).

Labour leaders at the time had attitudes that contradicted their own arguments. For instance, arguments for anti-immigration went beyond simply an economic crisis. Therefore, numerous stigmas of Asians were constructed by labour leaders in hopes of highlighting the ruthless Asian community as bloodthirsty groups willing to abandon standards of human decency. His principle that Asian culture was not the reason for those conditions, but rather the underlying character of the people.

To support his argument, Goutor uses many primary news sources such as those from Communications from Vancouver and Toronto Daily News in the 19th century. Using case proceedings and reports that offer first hand information, Goutor addresses key points of Labour hostility toward the Chinese immigrants (2007).

Additionally, Goutor’s article offers insight that reflects other races such as Aboriginals and Europeans who went through similar cicrumstances. However, it illustrates an image that is subtler while compared to the Chinese. According to the Report of the Immigration Committee, there were no exclusion acts that limited the Europeans from entering nor were there any restrictions considered (Goutor, 2007, p. 559). This reflection lies on the attitudes of the labour leaders who were intrinsically motivated to prohibit the immigration of the Asian race.

Eventually, this led to the notion that Asians were immoral, this creates a mindset embedded within the national culture. One of his strongest statements was that the segregation of Asian labourers created a much more demanding economic struggle which ultimately, led to the menace of labour unions. The discussions between the author and his findings illustrate a rich history that speaks volumes through many generations who have experienced it. The written history of Asian immigration to Canada is both filled with the deep culture and a sense of solidarity in light of Asian history.